Sarah Paulson is opening up about her shocking transformation to play Linda Tripp in Impeachment: American Crime Story. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Paulson said she had “regret” over wearing a fat suit.
“It’s very hard for me to talk about this without feeling like I’m making excuses,” she shared, noting the controversy over actors wearing fat suits “is a legitimate one.”
“I think fat phobia is real. I think to pretend otherwise causes further harm,” Paulson said. “And it is a very important conversation to be had.”
Though Paulson had previously vocalized her intention to gain weight for her role as Tripp, the civil servant who played a key role in exposing Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. However, that plan didn’t pan out. The actress also donned prosthetics, a blonde wig and large glasses to portray Tripp, but it’s the fat suit she harbors “regret” over.
“I think the thing I think about the most is that I regret not thinking about it more fully,” she said.
“And that is an important thing for me to think about and reflect on. I also know it’s a privileged place to be sitting and thinking about it and reflecting on it, having already gotten to do it, and having had an opportunity that someone else didn’t have. You can only learn what you learn when you learn it,” Paulson said. “Should I have known? Abso-f**ing-lutely. But I do now. And I wouldn’t make the same choice going forward.”
Amid larger conversations about fat phobia in Hollywood, the actress also said she doesn’t think the “entire” responsibility of whether to use a fat suit should “fall on the actor.”
“But that entire responsibility I don’t think falls on the actor for choosing to do something that is arguably — and I’m talking about from the inside out — the challenge of a lifetime,” she expressed. “I do think to imagine that the only thing any actor called upon to play this part would have to offer is their physical self is a real reduction of the offering the actor has to make. I would like to believe that there is something in my being that makes me right to play this part. And that the magic of hair and makeup departments and costumers and cinematographers that has been part of moviemaking, and suspension of belief, since the invention of cinema. Was I supposed to say no [to the part]? This is the question.”
In an April interview with ET, Impeachment creator Ryan Murphy addressed Paulson’s transformation into Tripp, which drew fan criticism for the use of a fat suit.
“You know, it’s different for every character. Sarah particularly really had been dedicated to that role and she wanted to do it naturally and she gained weight to play Linda Tripp,” he shared. “And then, you know, you put the wig on her and it’s sort of an amazing thing she’s doing physically.”
“It’s very transformative, it reminds me a lot of what Christian Bale did a couple years ago [for Vice, American Hustle and The Fighter], that dedication,” Murphy continued. “And we talked a lot about how she has to keep it up for many many months until it’s done shooting, so it’s hard.”
Clive Owen, Beanie Feldstein and Edie Falco also star in Impeachment: American Crime Story, premiering on FX on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 10 p.m. ET. See more on the show in the video below.
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